Seven Health Benefits from Playing Golf
Golfers often get a bad rap in the sports world in terms of fitness. While other stick-and-ball sports, like soccer, tennis and basketball, might require more physical exertion, golf is actually a great workout for your body and mind.
In fact, the more modern science has learned about human physiology, the higher golf scores on the fitness meter. The four-hour exercise in concentration and walking, even with intermittent cart rides, is good for your overall health.
Look no farther than the current crop of PGA Tour superstars to find some of the best conditioned athletes in all of professional sports. Here are a few of the health benefits you can reap by playing the gentleman’s game of golf:
Burning Calories: Golf carts have cut down on the amount of walking on the course, but there are still a lot of back and forth trips to the golf ball. If you are fortunate enough to find a tee time that will allow you to walk the course, experts estimate you can cover 3 to 5 miles and burn as many as 1,000 calories over the course of 18 holes. Bonus calorie burning if you carry your own clubs.
Heart Health: The walking, swinging and carrying involved in golf help to raise your heart rate, and that’s good news for your overall heart health. The increase in activity level allows your heart to pump more blood for improved blood flow, lower blood pressure and a decrease in cholesterol levels. The relaxation of playing a round of golf can also decrease stress levels and contribute to your overall well being.
Maintaining the Brain: Golf is as much a mental workout as a physical one, and the game is as good for your brain as it is the rest of your body. Not only does the sports increase blood flow to your heart, but also your brain. And the mental functions of strategy, calculating distance and reading greens all keep the brain sharp as logical functions. Some studies also show that golf helps defend against age-related losses in mental fitness.
Mood improvement: Ever notice how much happier you are once you hit the links? It does more than just put a smile on your face; it also holds health benefits. Research shows that enjoyment of being in the great outdoors, interacting with friends, relaxing in a natural setting and getting a little exercise all serve the purpose of lowering your anxiety and stress levels.
Sleep Benefits: Modern science has discovered the importance of sleep to your overall health, and leisure activities are a great way to improve your sleep patterns. The physical and mental exertion associated with playing a round of golf can lead to feelings of fatigue and a better night’s rest. Sleep allows your body to recover, cells to regenerate, muscles to repair, and a total reboot for your brain.
Soaking up Sunshine: Today’s computer-driven society is finally starting to realize the health benefits of simply getting away from the screen and getting outdoors. A little sunlight can go a long way toward overall happiness, decreasing depression and giving your body a healthy shot of Vitamin D. Scientists are even beginning to discover that more time outdoors can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Vision Quest: Chasing a little white ball around a green golf course is more than just a physical and mental challenge; it’s also great exercise for your eyes. The ability to focus on targets far away and follow the flight path of your ball are excellent ways to help your vision stay sharp. In addition to keeping your eyes keen, golf also fosters better hand-eye coordination.
So there’s no need to feel guilty about sneaking off for a round of golf. Now you can feel good about teeing it up with friends and playing a round of golf just for the health of it.
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